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Queenstown airport upgrades to handle rapid growth

The number of international passengers is expected to increase by 60% over the next year alone.

Kristina Koveshnikova
Wed, 11 Jul 2018

Skyrocketing numbers of international passengers pouring into New Zealand are pushing Queenstown Airport to invest millions of dollars to expand its facilities.

Queenstown Airport general manager commercial Simon Barr said the number of international passengers is expected to increase by 60% over the next year alone.

Together with predicted 10% growth in the number of domestic travellers this is bound to put pressure the airport would not be able to handle.

“Our current facilities are designed to cope with passenger numbers of around 700,000 per year while we are actually expecting to reach almost one million over the next 12 months.”

The airport, in its present form, is designed to handle 5% international and 95% domestic travellers, which is out of balance with the reality.

“Our actual passenger mix is closer to 20% international and 80% domestic.”

To accommodate the vastly growing numbers of people passing through the airport the development of a new baggage make up area is unescapable, Mr Barr said.

The construction of a 1470sq m building to house a new baggage area will begin in September and take three months to be completed. It will triple the size of the existing baggage carousel.

The project is expected to be completed in time for the new international Jetstar services into Queenstown and Air New Zealand’s rollout of new A320 domestic jets from January 2011. The new international services and domestic fleet upgrade would be difficult to accommodate without the new building.

In 2009 the airport expanded the check in hall to accommodate new airline services.

The development has been designed to take place with minimum disruption to existing operations with the new building completed and the carousel ready to use before an overnight changeover of systems.

“The airport is the first and last port of call for hundreds of thousands of visitors to the region each year. We are constructing an operationally efficient baggage area that will meet demand and also provide flexible infrastructure that can accommodate future growth or changes,” Mr Barr said.
 

Kristina Koveshnikova
Wed, 11 Jul 2018
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